Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology
Fossil floras from three exposures of the Emma Fiord Formation from Ellesmere Island, Axel Heiberg Island, and Devon Island in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago fill a gap in our knowledge of the regional distribution of Viséan age plant assemblages. Plant fossils occur as compressions in two lithologies, calcareous shale and black shale, representing two different lacustrine depositional environments within a broader system of rift lakes that developed prior to the beginning of widespread Sverdrup Basin sedimentation. Calcareous shales from the Grinnell Peninsula of Devon Island preserve an in situ forest dominated by articulated arborescent lycopsid compression fossils similar to Lepidodendron veltheimii, while black shales from the Kleybolte Peninsula of Ellesmere Island and the Svartevaeg Cliffs of Axel Heiberg Island preserve a more diverse assemblage consisting of fragmentary lycopsid compressions and disarticulated foliage taxa similar to species of Rhodea, Aneimites, and Fryopsis. The Emma Fiord macroflora is comparable to those found in similar tectonic and sedimentary settings in Alaska, Greenland, and Spitsbergen. These assemblages are not as diverse as contemporaneous or roughly contemporaneous tropical lowland floras from North America and Europe.
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